East and West in Antiquity

Course information


East and West in Antiquity


Imre Áron Illés, Melinda Draskóczy, Nóra Dávid, Gyula Priskin, Péter Tamás Bara

Course code



Teachers‘ room


Tuesday 18.00-19.30

Course description

Short description

The course aims at the multisided study of cultural and economic relations between East and West concerning the relevant Greek and Roman textual sources, epigraphical and archaeological evidence. In the evaluation of sources we rely on recent historiography.



Gyula Priskin:

Ancient Egypt 1-2-3.

Imre Áron Illés:

The Founding Legends of Rome

The legend of the twins, Romulus and Remus is well-known, however, it had many variants even in the 1st century BC, as Dionysius and, later, Plutarch clearly show. Some aspects of the stories have strong parallels in the mythical history or in the religious tales of other ancient cultures. The lecture focuses on some questions regarding these variants and parallels.

The Battle of Marathon

One of the most famous conflict between East and West is the battle that the Athenians fought against the Persians at Marathon. The lecture focuses on the correct evaluation of some unhistorical myths (e.g. the exact role of Miltiades, the runner Pheidippides etc.), and the reconstruction of the manoeuvres in battle.

The World after Alexander the Great

When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, he changed the everyday life of the common men of the following centuries, too. The lecture gives a glimpse at this changing world, especially in the field of the political and religious life of the classical polis and the common man.

Nóra Dávid:

1) Eastern Cults and Religions in the Roman Empire: parallel to the expansions of the Roman Empire to the East different cults and religions found their new followers (among the soldiers, merchants and later into many segments of the Roman society) in many parts of the Empire. This lecture aims to study the dynamics of this infiltration and study the different cults and their Roman versions.

2) History of the Jews in the Hellenistic Era: The expansions of Alexander the Great reached the territory of Syria and Palestina in the 4th Century CE, causing big changes in almost all the fields of life of people living there. This lecture aims to study the history, culture and religion of Jewish people living under the Hellenistic rulers.

3) History of the Jews between in the Roman Period: The expansions of the Roman Empire reached the territory of Syria and Palestina at the turn of the Eras, causing big changes in almost all the fields of life of people living there. This lecture aims to study the history, culture and religion of Jewish people living under the Roman emperors.

Melinda Draskóczy:

Trade between Rome and India 1-2.

Péter Tamás Bara:

The first part of my interactive lecture focuses on Oration 33, delivered by the famous church father Gregory of Nazianzos’(329–390). I discuss the use of Old Testament figures, namely the kings of Babylon, as means of critique against contemporary emperors. During the second part of the session, an eleventh-century case study is presented about the same passage of Or. 33 which was delivered in Constantinople in a similar historical context.


Requirements to get the grade

In addition to attending the lecture, participants must hand in a shorter (500 words) and longer (1500 words) English abstract of an article, or book chapter. This is agreed upon with the instructor in advance and should be related to the broader topic of the lecture, and/ or to the participant’s field of interest.

Reading list

Agreed upon with the instructor.



Friss Hírek

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Március 15-e alkalmából a Szegedi Tudományegyetem Bölcsészettudományi Karának két professzora (Barna Gábor és Felföldi László) is Magyar Érdemrend Tisztikereszt polgári tagozat kitüntetést vett át.